Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Keeping your house safe

Here is a list of things to do at home to help keep your house safe while you're on vacation.  I saved this list years ago to keep on file for our families travels.  I don't remember the original source.  I have changed a few things and added some thoughts of my own.  Hopefully it will help your family get ready for a vacation!

  • Contact the post office to put a hold on your mail.  You can do this online at www.usps.com.  
  • Contact your newspaper delivery guy or gal and put a hold on your newspapers.  Check with your local paper's web site to see if this can be done online or not.
  • Have a neighbor or relative check your house (front porch) for any deliveries while you are away.  You don't want them sitting on your porch all week!
  • Use plug in timers inside your house to have different lamps come on throughout the day- especially at night.  Consider doing this to a TV or radio too to add some noise to the inside!  I've set the radio alarms to go off in different rooms, at different hours, each day while I'm on vacation.
  • Clean out the fridge before you leave.  Anything that will expire before you return needs to go.  It's no fun coming home to a stinky refrigerator!
  • Turn the temperature down on your refrigerator.  Keep it at a safe level, but don't run it on the coldest setting.  Keeping your house closed up can raise temperatures and increases the refrigerator's energy use.  You don't want your fridge to blow a fuse!
  • Consider opening some of the blinds partially so the lights that are set on timers will make it look like someone is home when people drive by.
  • If possible, leave a car in your driveway.  It helps make the house look like someone is home.
  • Adjust the temperature on your air conditioner.  Set it about 10 degrees below the average outside temp while you are away.  This will help save some money!  But, don't turn it off completely.
  • Unplug appliances and electronics that will not be used while on vacation (don't unplug the ones attached to the timers!).   You'll save some money on your electric bill and it will help cut back on the chance you'll lose an appliance in a power surge.
  • Turn off your water and gas.  Turn off water at the street, if you can.  If not, shut off the water to your dishwasher and washing machine.  Pressure surges can cause a hose to burst.  Turn off the pilot light to your gas and turn off the water heater.
  • Empty all the inside trashcans.
  • Lock your doors and close your garage!

Don't forget to take care of your pets!  Line up a neighbor or relative to feed your pets or make arrangements for them to board at your vet's office.

If you know and trust your neighbors, let them know you will be traveling.  Have them keep an eye on your house and give them numbers where you can be reached- just in case!  You may ask your neighbors to take your garbage cans to the street the night before pick up

Contact the local police department and let them know you will be traveling for an extended period of time.  They may be able to add your house number to a list of residences for the patrolmen keep an eye on.

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